New Digital Playbook Reveals Social Media and Digital Marketing Best Practices for Exhibition Industry

First ever cross-industry research highlights new strategies and tactics

Digital Playbook Key Findings Infographic (Graphic: Business Wire)

NEW YORK--()--A special cross-industry collaboration representing the major players in the trade show and conference market has released the Digital Playbook, a new research and guidance piece meant to be an actionable tool for corporate marketers, show owners and association executives looking to optimize their social media and digital marketing.

Now available at, the report outlines specific recommendations in three areas: revenue generation, attendee and customer engagement and cost containment. The aim of the Digital Playbook is to give senior marketers and exhibition industry professionals a common framework to benchmark spending, understand where customer behavior is headed and align investments to measurable business objectives.

Under the umbrella of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), the research arm of the exhibition industry, the group behind the Digital Playbook includes the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), EXHIBITOR Magazine, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), INXPO and George P. Johnson Experience Marketing (GPJ).

“Our mission is to create the most educated, informed and empowered exhibition industry possible, so we are delighted to spearhead the Digital Playbook effort along with our partners,” said Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP, chief operating officer for IAEE and Executive Director of CEIR. “We designed this for utility so the report is full of not only useful findings, but also recommendations about how to move forward.”

Some of the Digital Playbook’s key findings:

  • 68% currently have a digital strategy in place, leaving a digital strategy “gap”
  • 72% predicted increases in digital spend
  • 70% of all respondents customize their digital offerings to target audience segments
  • Going forward, 67% plan to invest more in mobile and social tactics
  • Email continues to be a workhorse, it’s the top ranked resource used for revenue generation and the most used tactic for cost containment

“The Digital Playbook reveals that we’re in the midst of an enormous shift that in its size and scope reminds me of the move from a tactical event management mindset to an event marketing mindset that swept our industry in the 1990s,” said David Rich, Senior Vice President, Strategy + Planning/Worldwide at GPJ. “While there’s no set formula that applies to social media and digital that works for everyone, there are emerging standards and best practices all must know.”

Initially revealed at a VIP Keynote Panel at the IAEE Midyear Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday, August 6, further promotional efforts will put the Digital Playbook in the hands of marketing leaders looking to improve their integrated marketing model as well as exhibition and sponsorship decision-makers tasked to optimize their budgets and increase the value of events.

“It’s in the interest of any stakeholder in the exhibition industry to develop a discipline around social media and digital marketing in whatever manner drives results for their organization,” said Robb Lee, chief marketing officer of ASAE. “Otherwise you run the risk of reacting to adverse behavioral changes that may prove difficult to alter; it’s better to be proactive to ignite the conversation and garner results.”

About George P. Johnson (

GPJ is the #1 ranked experience marketing agency enabling leading brand marketers to create great ideas and bring them to life through integrated experiential programs that leverage online, mobile and physical brand interactions. Clients in technology, healthcare, consumer goods, finance and other fields rely on GPJ to help them compete more effectively on a global basis by creating and accelerating relationships with customers, employees, partners, media and other influencers. GPJ is part of Project: WorldWide, the leading independent engagement marketing solutions network ( Follow GPJ at


Project: WorldWide
Tom Maher, 617-535-9820
Executive Director, Marketing

Release Summary

A special cross-industry collaboration representing the major players in the trade show and conference market has released the Digital Playbook.


Project: WorldWide
Tom Maher, 617-535-9820
Executive Director, Marketing